South Africa

South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa


South Africa’s economy cannot afford more mine labour unrest, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said after the platinum industry’s main trade union said it would launch a strike at the world’s top three producers this week. The Rand turned weaker after Gordhan’s comments on Monday, a day after members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) voted to strike at the world’s biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum as well as at Impala Platinum and Lonmin. A simultaneous stoppage at the three would hit exports as the Rand wallows near five-year lows versus the Dollar. “The platinum industry needs to seriously get around the table,” Gordhan told SAFM radio. “We can least afford another round of strikes that will act as a destabilisation to the platinum sector which has had increasing difficulties over the last 18 months.”


Another person has died in the access to water protests in North West province. Community leader Paul Hendricks told Jacaranda FM news the man died after being shot in the head with live ammunition last week. The bullet was removed at a hospital in Ga-Rankuwa but the victim lapsed into a coma and died a week later. Three others have died in the Mothutlung protests. DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who visited the area on Monday, said the ANC had abandoned the people of Mothutlung. Mazibuko said she had come to the area to see with her own eyes what was happening so she could take the matter back to parliament and hold government accountable. “Because we cannot allow our people to be treated like animals and have a government which has forgotten the people get away with this indifference and brutality,” she said.

It was “shameful and disheartening” for sports minister Fikile Mbalula to turn his back on Bafana Bafana, says DA sports spokesman Winston Rabotapi. Mbalula, at a press conference, lambasted the team for losing to Nigeria in an African Nations Championship game, and crashing out of the tournament. He said the team was a “bunch of losers” whose performance was “useless”. “I felt like just standing up and walking out,” Mbalula said. Rabotapi said the minister should apologise for his “immature and disgraceful comments” that showed he had no sense of responsibility and understanding of his mandate. “Perhaps if he spent less time hobnobbing with celebrities, he would have more time for his job,” Rabotapi said.


Julius Malema and Mangosuthu Buthelezi have agreed to protect each other while campaigning before this year’s general elections. The leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said in a joint statement it was “more than crucial for parties in opposition to work together to ensure that national elections are free, fair and just”.

As such, the two organisations agreed they “will keep channels of communication open”. Malema apologised to Buthelezi for comments he’d made while he was president of the ANC Youth League at the meeting in Durban. They discussed issues such as the role of the Independent Electoral Commission, which, they said, favoured the ruling party in terms of allocation of resources that “undermines the principle of free and fair elections”. They also agreed tribalism should not be a tool for political mobilisation, saying the ANC did so, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal.


For the first time since First National Bank launched its annual estate agent survey the number of black South Africans buying suburban homes has overtaken their white counterparts, Sapa reported. The bank’s household and property sector strategist Johan Loos said 2013 was the “first year in the history of this survey question, dating back to 2005, in which the so-called ‘white’ group was estimated to have made up less than 50% of the home buyer population”. Loos said the number of white buyers was estimated at 48.5%. They were previously at 57% in 2005. Black buyers made up 31% of the buyers while the Asian percentage had rose to 8.5% in 2013 from 8% in 2005, and coloured group stayed unchanged at 12% in 2013 from 2005.


A decision by Fitch Ratings to upgrade Denel’s long-term rating and affirm its current short-term rating and outlook is a “vote of confidence in our prudent financial practices and a clear indication that our turnaround strategy is working and being recognised in financial circles and investor communities” says Riaz Saloojee, group chief executive of the state-owned defence manufacturer.  Saloojee said Denel was a valuable national asset that had managed to diversify its revenue base away from the South African defence sector, with 50% of revenue now generated from exports, most notably to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.


Members of a neighbourhood watch in Delft, outside Cape Town, made a citizen’s arrest of a man accused of raping and setting alight a nine-year-old girl. Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato commended the residents, saying the situation could have easily turned into one of vigilante violence. Residents locked the man away, fending off members of the community who wanted mob justice.  Plato said he was “deeply saddened and at the same time furious” that the child was raped, but said it was “welcoming news” that the police had made an arrest.   “By working with the SAPS, our communities can go a long way towards increasing the safety of their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas,” he said.


Agang leader, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, has slammed what she calls a tendency to employ racial rhetoric and tribalism to further self-interest. She said the threats against the Indian business community in KwaZulu-Natal by the Mazibuye African Forum and the Imbumba Business Group was another example of “divisive racial rhetoric” used by the ANC. The Mazibuye and Imbumba groups want Indians excluded from tendering for government business. She said it was “ironic” that divisive ethnic labels were being “dusted off and used to exclude others from doing business to secure privileges for the few”. “It is an attitude that sacrifices the role of Indians and all others who contributed in the struggle against Apartheid at the altar of greed and financial benefit,” Ramphele said. DM

Photo: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi field questions at a joint press conference in Durban. (Picture Giordano Stolley/SAPA)




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